Update Dec. 10, 2010: President Barack Obama has now signed into law the bill, H.R. 5566, to outlaw animal crush videos which Congress described as depicting "certain extreme acts of animal cruelty that appeal to a specific sexual fetish."
On Nov. 19, 2010 the Senate approved a final version of H.R. 5566 by voice vote.Â The Senate vote came just days after the House of Representatives approved the measureÂ by voice vote.Â
The bill was fast tracked, considered after suspension of the rules, during this lame duck session of Congress.
The new lawÂ makes it a federal crime to create or distribute, or conspire to createÂ orÂ animal crush videos with the knowledge they will be distributed in interstate or foreign commerce. It is also now illegal "to knowingly sell, market, advertise, exchange, or distribute an animal crush video in" interstate or foreign commerce. The law applies to animal crush videos created or distributed outside of the U.S. ifÂ the person involved knows the video will end up in the U.S.
An `animal crush video’ means any photograph, motion-picture film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that–
Â Â Â (1) depicts actual conduct in which 1 or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury…; and
Â Â Â (2) is obscene.
TheÂ bill specifically excludes depictions of "customary and normal veterinary or agricultural husbandry practices",Â "hunting, trapping, or fishing", and "slaughter of animals for food".
A violation would mean a possible prison sentence to 7 years.Â
U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (D-CA) introduced the legislation toÂ address the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down 18 U.S.C. Sec. 48 which prohibited the creation, sale and possession for commercial gain of illegal animal cruelty.Â